The illness is still rare, with just over 2,000 cases in the U.S. and 30 deaths.By Dr. Maria Simbra

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The inflammatory pediatric syndrome linked to COVID-19 called MIS-C is on the rise.

Through a pediatric resident who works with him, Allegheny Health Network Pediatric Alliance pediatrician Dr. Michael Petrosky says he is aware of a local increase at UPMC Children’s Hospital.

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“They’ve had a steady amount of cases. Two to three a day. It’s definitely out there,” said Dr. Petrosky.

That’s up from one or two in December.

“Most of the kids now that are getting it, they need more of the intensive care. They seem to be more sick,” says Dr. Petrosky. “They are spending more time in the ICU than what they were saying earlier on.”

Symptoms can include fever, rash, red eyes, usually a couple of weeks after the initial illness.

“Fevers are usually persisting for three to four days. They’re not wanting to eat or drink, not wanting to get up and move,” Dr. Petrosky said. “Sometimes, there is this lingering inflammation. When it lingers too long, it can affect lots of different organ systems. Heart, lungs, kidneys, you worry about.”

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Because of the delayed symptoms, Dr. Petrosky says the surge in MIS-C reflects the recent spike in cases overall. Some pediatric ICUs are full of children with MIS-C, for instance, in Washington, D.C.

“Middle of the country seems to be having a little bit more,” Dr. Petrosky said.

With medicines and ventilators, most of these kids do recover.

“The thing that we’re still learning is what does this mean long term since everything is new?” said Dr. Petrosky.

The illness is still rare, with just over 2,000 cases in the U.S. and 30 deaths.

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To avoid MIS-C, minimize your exposure to coronavirus. Dr. Petrosky credits masking and social distancing for keeping the bump in Pittsburgh cases small.

Dr. Maria Simbra